About 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, but about 80% of those with it are undiagnosed. Diagnosis and treatment are essential, because in severe cases, sleep apnea can be deadly.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disorder in which you repeatedly stop breathing throughout the night. This pause in breathing can last anywhere from a couple of seconds to a minute and can occur more than 100 times a night in severe cases.
But people usually fall right back to sleep after this sleeping and breathing interruption, so they don’t remember the disruption or realize they have sleep apnea. If you have any of the common symptoms of sleep apnea, see your doctor for a diagnosis. Symptoms include:
- Loud snoring
- Gasping for air during sleep
- Waking with a dry mouth
- Headaches in the morning
- Problems focusing during the day
- Excessive sleepiness during the day
- Falling asleep during the day
Different Types of Sleep Apnea
There are different types of sleep apnea and different causes for each type. The most common type of sleep apnea is called obstructive sleep apnea. This type of sleep apnea happens when the muscles in the back of your throat relax and block your airways.
With central sleep apnea, the signals from your brain to your respiratory system don’t work properly, and your brain fails to send the correct messages to your muscles that it’s time to breathe. Mixed sleep apnea, is a combination of the two.
With all three types of sleep apnea, sleep is continually interrupted, leaving those afflicted tired and fatigued throughout the day. People with sleep apnea are more prone to high blood pressure, heart disease, mood and memory problems, and car accidents.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
At Lansdowne Orthodontics, we recommend that your first step to treating sleep apnea is to see your primary care provider for a complete physical evaluation. Your physician may recommend a sleep study to determine if sleep apnea is present and the severity of the symptoms. Additionally, scheduling with a Board Certified Orthodontist such as Dr. Navin Hukmani for a comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis will provide a thorough review of airway issues. If lifestyle changes such as losing weight, reducing alcohol consumption, adjusting your sleep position, and quitting smoking fail to help you get a good night’s sleep, Dr. Hukmani can prescribe a custom treatment plan to address your condition. His treatments include:
A custom mouth appliance
Dr. Hukmani can create a custom nighttime mouth appliance to fit comfortably in your mouth. This mouthpiece holds your jaw is in a position that ensures your airways are open and clear so that breathing is continuous throughout the night.
If the issue with your airways is caused by jaw or teeth alignment, Dr. Hukmani can recommend an orthodontic treatment option to address your alignment issue.
For more information on sleep apnea, call Lansdowne Orthodontics with offices in Leesburg and South Riding, Virginia, or make an appointment online.